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Furthering a Commitment to Planetary Wellness

President Robyn Hannigan joined Pennsylvania State Rep. Joe Webster to discuss riparian buffer legislation, which builds upon efforts to manage stormwater throughout Pennsylvania.

Ursinus is continuing its partnership with community leaders to stress the importance of stormwater management throughout Montgomery County and beyond, a major initiative that contributes to the college’s commitment to the wellness of people, places, and planet.

During a press conference on Friday, June 2, at Evansburg State Park, Pennsylvania State Rep. Joe Webster talked about the damage that repeated flooding has done to the community in recent years due in part to the damaged riparian buffer zone, which is a forested area near a stream that separates the body of water from land.

He credited leaders such as President Robyn Hannigan for the bill’s potential success. Earlier this year, Hannigan and other Ursinus leaders provided key remarks on stormwater management and its impact on infrastructure before the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee. On June 2, Hannigan asserted the connections between the riparian buffer zone and the health of the environment, and said bill foregrounds the health of people who call this area home.

“Environmental issues such as flooding and stormwater management know no boundaries, and we can’t simply decide to opt-out of these issues. We need real coordination,” she said.

Hannigan, an accomplished environmental scientist, emphasized the importance of the legislation and of addressing the climate crisis in general. Ursinus is intimately connected to the Perkiomen Watershed, and climate change—which in turn could lead to more rainfall contributing to flooding events—significantly impacts it and the surrounding municipalities. The watershed has encountered record flooding three times in the past 24 months causing large-scale damage to homes, businesses, parks, and the creeks themselves.

“With Hurricane Season upon us, it is more important than ever to focus our efforts on preparation and implementation of policies that protect our communities from the devastating effects of stormwater,” Webster said. “Home to over 86,000 miles of creeks, rivers, and streams, PA must take steps to reduce flooding in future weather events and adapt Pennsylvania to the changing climate.”

Webster represents the 150th Legislative District, which includes Collegeville. 

Last year, Ursinus became the first liberal arts college in the United States to sign the Okanagan Charter, which requires a bold vision that encourages colleges to be even better stewards of people, places, and planet.

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